St. Jude and Methodist Healthcare sign agreement to advance center for adult sickle cell disease in Memphis

The newly expanded Methodist Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Methodist University Hospital will strengthen research into sickle cell disease and serve the growing needs of sickle cell patients in the Memphis area

Memphis, Tennessee, September 19, 2016

Audrey Cole (left), Case Manager in Hematology, offers support and advice for teenagers as they transition into the adult sickle cell clinical care.

Audrey Cole (left), Case Manager in Hematology, offers support and advice for teenagers as they transition into the adult sickle cell clinical care.   

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Methodist Healthcare announced today a new agreement to advance research and clinical care for adult sickle cell disease patients in the Memphis area.

The collaboration coincides with expansion of the Methodist Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Methodist University Hospital. The center will develop new infrastructures to strengthen clinical research, generate new therapies and provide the best possible care for adult sickle cell patients, many of whom have received care as pediatric patients at St. Jude.

Jane Hankins, M.D., associate member of the St. Jude Department of Hematology, will oversee the growth of the center, including work to investigate the long-term outcomes of sickle cell disease and the development of new clinical trials.

“Our goal with the expanded clinic is to offer support for further research into this debilitating disease and enhance evidence-based clinical care for sickle cell patients,” Hankins said. “We see a decrease in survival rates after children leave pediatric treatment and want to help these young adults learn the independent skills they need to make a smooth transition to adult care. This is an extension of our Teens in Transition program at St. Jude that works to ensure a smooth continuum of care.”

Sickle cell disease affects approximately 2,000 individuals in the Mid-South region alone, which includes parts of Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri. In the United States, more than 100,000 people are affected. If not treated effectively, sickle cell disease causes acute and chronic complications that may lead to organ failure and premature death.

“Our mission at Methodist Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center is to improve the quality of life for sickle cell patients in the Mid-South,” said Mark Yancy, manager of the Methodist Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. “Thanks to the new partnership with St. Jude, we are able to further expand the resources available to the patients and families who rely on our center to help manage their condition.”

The Methodist Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center first opened in fall 2012 in an effort to provide comprehensive care to adults of any age and to ensure a smooth transition of care for patients who had received pediatric care at St. Jude. The patient population has grown to approximately 200 patients since the program’s inception. The center offers multidisciplinary care in a patient-centered environment. The long-term goal is to build an adult center that will become a national model of research and care for adults living with sickle cell disease.

St. Jude has been researching sickle cell disease since the hospital opened in 1962. The first research grant ever received by the hospital was for the study of sickle cell disease. In 1983, a St. Jude patient was the first in the world to be cured of sickle cell anemia through a stem cell/bone marrow transplant. 

St. Jude cares for approximately 900 pediatric sickle cell patients each year, 40 of whom transition to adult care annually. Learn more about treatment for sickle cell disease at St. Jude.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and cures childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments developed at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing and food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. To learn more, visit stjude.org or follow the hospital on Twitter and Instagram at @stjuderesearch.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system based in Memphis, Tenn. Founded in 1918 by The United Methodist Church to help meet the growing needs for quality health care in the Mid-South, Methodist has grown from one hospital into a six-hospital system that also includes Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, a home health agency, ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient facilities, hospice residence and physician practices serving Memphis and Mid-South area. For six consecutive years, Methodist has been named the best hospital in Memphis by U.S. News and World Report. With 12,000 associates, the Memphis hospitals are licensed as one and with 1,686 licensed beds and over 60,000 inpatient admissions. For more information visit www.methodisthealth.org.